Australian Open 2014 Tennis: Analyzing the Favorites Heading into Quarterfinals

Alex EspinozaCorrespondent IIIJanuary 20, 2014

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand in his fourth round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy during day seven of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Day 9 of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne is set to kick off on Tuesday morning with another day full of matches.

We've reached the quarterfinals action of the singles tournaments with a lot of the usual suspects making up the field on the men's side, as seven of the world's top eight seeds are still alive.

Things are much more wide open on the women's side, as top players like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have already been bounced from the competition.

Here's a look at all of the quarterfinal matches on tap for the next two days followed by analysis of the favorites for each the men's and women's brackets.

2014 Australian Open Quarterfinals
Men's Singles
(1) Rafael Nadal(22) Grigor Dimitrov
(4) Andy Murray(6) Roger Federer
(7) Tomas Berdych(3) David Ferrer
(8) Stanislas Wawrinka(2) Novak Djokovic
Women's Singles
(14) Ana Ivanovic(30) Eugenie Bouchard
(4) Na Li(28) Flavia Pennetta
(11) Simona Halep(20) Dominika Cibulkova
(5) Agnieskza Radwanska(2) Victoria Azarenka


Men's: Novak Djokovic

Looking at the structure of the draw, No. 2 Novak Djokovic looks like the clear favorite to emerge from his side of the bracket that also includes quarterfinal opponent No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka, No. 3 David Ferrer and No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

Not to mention Djokovic is the three-time reigning champion of the Australian Open. 

Djokovic has breezed through the first four rounds of this year's tourney, earning straight-set victories in each of his matches.

This upcoming battle with Wawrinka will be a rematch of last year's fourth-round Australian Open classic that lasted more than five hours, almost a year to the day later.

Wawrinka recently acknowledged to that he has a top-notch foe in Djokovic.

"I watched him a little bit today. He's really, really tough to beat," said Wawrinka. "I had five sets against him last year here. Five sets in the US Open. But I didn't win. I didn't find the solution to beat him. So it's going to be really difficult."

In all, Djokovic holds a 15-2 career advantage in this series, including 14 straight wins entering play on Tuesday.

Could we be headed for another Djokovic-Rafael Nadal clash in the final? It's entirely possible, but it will be hard for Nadal to emerge out of his side of the bracket that also features No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 6 Roger Federer and quarterfinal opponent No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov.


Women's: Victoria Azarenka

Now that Williamsthe world's No. 1-ranked women's playerand Sharapovathe world No. 3have been eliminated, all eyes are on No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarusian has won each of her four Open matches in straight sets, including an impressive 6-3, 6-2 takedown of American Sloane Stephens in the round of 16. Going forward, Azarenka's stiffest competition figures to be No. 4 Na Li, whom she could only meet in the final.

Azarenka won the 2012 and 2013 Australian Opens and is in a great position to repeat. With her win over Stephens earlier this week, Azarenka pushed her win streak at Melbourne Park to 18 matches. 

According to the Agence France-Presse (h/t The National), Azarenka is feeling comfortable down under.

"I’m glad I could find my rhythm and go for my shots. I just love playing here. It feels so cozy, it feels like home," she said.

If this tournament has showed us anything so far, however, it's that upsets can happen. Azarenka might be the favorite now, but don't count out the upstart group of players that is still vying for the women's crown.